Titles can be evocative, deceptive, or both. With “Beyond the Boneyard Gate,” Alicia Austen’s contribution is very much both … a quick look into the strangeness that might go unseen all around us.
The face has been eaten away, exposing an incomprehensibly rotted stone skull that looks almost as human as it does inanimate. Foulness lives here, inside this ugly thing, quarantined from all that is rational. – “Beyond the Boneyard Gate” by Alicia Austen
* What inspired your piece in The Refossiling?
AA: One of the first bloggers I befriended on WordPress is a wonderful photographer based in North Carolina named Jennifer. Several months later, she posted a stunning but frightening photograph of a decrepit-looking statue. This image kept popping into my head, totally unbidden, for several days. Writing “Beyond the Boneyard Gate” was my way of exorcising this horrible looking thing from my mind. Coming full circle, Jennifer gave me a copy of the photo that started it all. It now “lives” in my studio.
*Favorite / least favorite ___________ and why?
A. extinct or prehistoric lifeform
AA: Wooly Mammoth!
B. dinosaur-themed entertainment (book, movie, game, etc)
AA: The 1925 silent film adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel The Lost World. It’s a fun movie, and quite technically impressive for its time.
C. aquatic-themed entertainment (book, movie, game, etc)
AA: Do gaudy Esther Williams musicals count?
E. Vacation destination
AA: Iceland, Scotland, Newfoundland. Apparently, I love islands.
F. time travel destination
AA: I would love to visit the settings (place, time) of all of my favourite classic novels, but only for a day.
G. seafood dish or delicacy
AA: Ahi tuna sashimi
*Where can readers and fans find more of your work?
AA: It varies from month to month, but you can always find me on the bookish blog A Small Press Life (onetrackmuse.com), and its new sister site Font and Frock (fontandfrock.com).
*Who are your main creative influences, literary/artistic or otherwise?
AA: My ability to function and persevere as a writer and creative person is due, without a doubt, to the examples set by the countless indefatigable and talented women writers and feminist activists of earlier generations. I became a writer because of George Bernard Shaw, and a better human being because of Joe Strummer. And my mom is the best!
* Current ________ and why?
AA: Feminism, Marriage Equality, and Equal Rights for one and all.
AA: Watching weird documentaries on Netflix.
AA: Although I love many things that have fandoms, I am not enough of ajoiner to “belong” to any of them.
AA: The current iteration of Doctor Who, as portrayed by Peter Capaldi.
AA: It changes every day, but I love punk, blues, and classical music the most.
AA: Vegetables, especially Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and Thai eggplant
* What’re you working on, what is your process/routine like?
AA: I am about to start a new short story. I’ve been prepping it for a year! I also just launched a new experimental fiction (well, kind of) blog called Font and Frock. I am lucky enough to be able to write full-time, at home in a nice, cozy studio. I try to stay super organized and adhere to a schedule that is mostly dictated by my husband’s weird hours as a restaurant professional. I’ve found that catering to my whims (sleeping in, taking tea breaks, cuddling the dog) works wonders for my sanity and productivity. I’m extremely lucky.